British Airways REINSTATES face masks – and won’t say why
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Plot twist. According to reports, British Airways has had a last-minute change of heart and not removed the requirement to wear face masks.
The plan was to remove the requirement to wear masks, except for destinations where it is required by law, from today.
Heathrow Airport and Virgin Atlantic were also removing mask mandates from today.
It isn’t clear what is happening. Flyertalk posts from crew claim there are ‘compliance issues’ with removing the requirement for masks but the airline is not disclosing what these are.
All references to the removal of masks have disappeared from the BA website. The covid guidance pages still say that a mask is compulsory on all flights:
“Although UK rules are easing, here at British Airways like other airlines and airports, wearing face masks is still our policy. We’ll need you to wear a face mask in the airport and on board unless you are exempt. We have this policy to protect our most vulnerable customers and abide by the laws of countries around the world.
As a guide, a face mask could last up to four hours, so please make sure you bring enough for the duration of your trip. You will be asked to remove your mask for any passport checks, but you’ll be advised when to do so by our colleagues.
When you’re on board, you’re allowed to remove your face mask for a reasonable time to enable you to eat or drink. When you’re not consuming food or drink, your face mask must be placed back on and must cover your nose and mouth at all times.“
What is going on?
It’s not clear.
BA is claiming on Twitter that nothing has changed despite what passengers are being told, despite what BA staff are saying in our own comments section below and despite the website changes:
The move to retain face coverings on public transport in Scotland for a further period – these were meant to have been scrapped next week – has obviously caused issues for passengers on flights to Scotland.
It is possible that it is linked to passengers connecting in London. Do passengers flying to some countries have to wear a mask for their entire trip? Perhaps the whole aircraft must be masked if one person is connecting? There are reports of passengers being told that a decision on masks can only be taken after boarding. If this is true, however, why has SAS not been impacted after dropping masks?
Whatever the issue is, it has not impacted Jet2, Tui or Virgin Atlantic which have already removed the requirement to wear face masks.
More if we get it. For now, you better keep that mask to hand, even though you won’t need it at Heathrow or Gatwick in the airport.
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